Retail sector stopped growing in June due to Gezi protests

Retail sector stopped growing in June due to Gezi protests

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Retail sector stopped growing in June due to Gezi protests

Retail sector actors say the impact of the Gezi protest was lower than thought. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Turkish retail sector didn’t contracted but stagnated in June after growing between 15 to 20 percent for five consecutive months, due to anti-government protests that continued through the month, sector repsrsentatives have said.

“Our expectation was for the retail sector to grow around and even more than 15 to 20 percent, but the revenue and volume of the sector were around the same level as last year,” the chairman of the United Brands Association, Hüseyin Doğan, said yesterday at a press meeting held to introduce a new federation of retail and shopping mall sector representatives.

The anti-government demonstrations, known as the Gezi Park protests, began at the end of May and continued thorough June across the country, dealing a big blow to many sectors with the tourism, entertainment and retail sectors at the top.

Both lowered morale and pressure of conscience due to police violence on the streets, as well as the deteriorating image of shopping malls in people’s eyes have further damaged the sales of many retailers, particularly ones around the scenes of clashes in major cities like Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara.

Yılmaz Yılmaz, president of the board of directors of Koton, a leading Turkish clothing brand, said their overall loss in June was estimated to be between 5 to 10 percent.

Doğan and Yılmaz’s remarks indicated a worse picture than had been heard, as June was a particularly important for retailers. “June was the most important month for us as Shopping Fest is in June, as is Father’s Day and the end of the school year,” LC Waikiki Vahap Küçük said during the same meeting.

However retailers have said they are confident they will not be hurt. Zafer Kurşun, the owner of one of the largest shopping malls in Istanbul, IstinyePark, said their visitors rose by more than 6 percent in June showing there was no risk of losing the confidence of customers.

All of these retailers gathered yesterday to introduce the new board and share the future plans of the All Shopping Malls and Retailers Federation (TAMPF) which assembled major retailer organizations of Turkey.